19 Jan 2011

New calls for Govt help for timber industry

11:36 am on 19 January 2011

Latest redundancies in the wood processing sector have re-ignited calls for the Government to step in and rescue the industry.

Winstone Pulp International this week laid off 44 more personnel at its Tangiwai Sawmill near Ohakune, bringing the total number of job losses in the sector over the past two months to nearly 150.

The National Distribution Union says the wood processing sector is in crisis from having to pay high international prices for raw timber, but receiving very low returns for processing.

General secretary Robert Reid says the Government needs to meet with the sector to help it develop a strategic plan.

He says something needs to be done immediately to halt a fresh avalanche of job redundancies and sawmill closures.

Forestry Minister David Carter says he will meet the union next Tuesday to discuss what is happening in the sector.